National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Overall Investment in NIH: We support increasing funding for NIH to a level of at least $41.6 billion in FY20. The bulk of federally supported FGIMDs research is conducted through the National Institute of Diabetes, and Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Increased support for NIH will enable NIDDK and other Institutes and Centers to continue to expand the FGIMD research portfolio and initiate critical new research activities focused on improving our understanding of these conditions and leading to the development of innovative treatment options.
Support The Functional GI and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act: This critical piece of legislation seeks to advance our scientific understanding of FGIMDs and improve treatment options for patients by encouraging and bolstering research. This bill calls on NIH to adopt and implement the FGIMD-related research recommendations outlined by the National Commission on Digestive Diseases. In addition, this bill calls on NIH to partner with the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to increase research activities. We urge Members of Congress to champion FGIMD research by becoming a House of Representatives cosponsor or Senate sponsor of The Functional GI and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act.
The onset of a functional GI disorder can be triggered by severe stress and infections of the digestive tract. Deployed military personnel face an elevated chance of experiencing these risk factors and developing a functional GI disorder due to their service. As a result, the VA recognizes a "presumption of service" connection for Gulf War veterans applying for disability who suffer with functional GI disorders. The DOD conducts important research into medical conditions that impact veterans and active duty military personnel through its Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP).
The House and Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittees fund the DOD CDMRP’s Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP), which provides an excellent source of funding for functional GI disorders research. Legislators must work to see that funding for the GWIRP is included in any agreement on FY17 Defense Appropriations.
The Safe Step Act requires insurers to implement a clear and transparent process for a patient or physician to request an exception to a step therapy protocol and requires group health plans to grant exceptions if certain protocol is met. Step therapy negatively affects many patients within then chronic gastrointestinal and motility disorders. Visit congress.gov to see if your Representative or Senator supports this legislation.
The Medical Nutrition Equity Act (H.R. 2501, S.3657)
Medical foods are physician-directed foods intended for the dietary management of a disease or condition that has distinctive nutritional needs that cannot be met by normal diet alone and are used under medical supervision. Many individuals with FGIMDs benefit from medical foods. This bill seeks to provide coverage, under Medicare, Medicaid, other specified federal health-care programs and private health insurance, of foods and vitamins that are medically necessary for the management of certain metabolic and digestive disorders. Visit congress.gov to see if your Representative supports this legislation.